Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the opening of a competitive process through which local governments, community groups, non-profit organizations, academic institutions and private enterprises may apply for local implementation grants from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund. Under Governor O’Malley’s leadership, the Fund was created during the 2007 special session of the General Assembly to help restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
“After 25 years of dedicated effort to restore the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays, it is clear that Maryland and our partners have not achieved our goal and a new approach is needed if we want to ensure healthy, productive Bays for our children and grandchildren,” said Governor O’Malley. “The people of Maryland have entrusted us to utilize these special funds for implementation of the most cost-effective restoration and pollution prevention efforts, so that we can realize meaningful, measurable results in the local streams and rivers that most impact the Bays’ health.”
“Thanks to Governor O’Malley, and to those who advocate for our Bay and the environment, we have new resources through the Chesapeake Bay 2110 Trust to address issues that challenge the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee. “This fund has been a long time legislative priority for the Environmental Matters Committee, we are pleased to have been a partner in it’s creation.”
The request for proposals (RFP) process is designed to leverage available funding for non-point source restoration projects that will result in measurable water quality improvements within one to three years through nutrient and sediment pollution reduction. Projects expected to have the greatest nutrient reduction benefit within high priority watersheds that include local government and multiple organizations as partners will be given priority consideration for funding.
“This is a very exciting step forward for Bay improvement. We now have permanent funding for effective pollution reduction practices so that we will actually see improved water quality in the Bay and rivers.” said Chesapeake Bay Foundation Maryland Executive Director Kim Coble.
Competitive grants will encourage specific geographic targeting, clustering of multiple projects and strategies to maximize results, and restoration efforts that combine cost-effective best management practices throughout local watersheds.
“Targeting available resources at a scale that science tells us will have a measurable result represents a new approach to Bay restoration,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin.
“We thank Governor O’Malley for assuring funding assistance to local governments like Montgomery County who are working hard to reduce stormwater and other water quality impacts from suburban and urban areas,” said Robert Hoyt, Director of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. “The innovative funding through the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund not only makes dollars available, but it does it in a way that will help local governments leverage other dollars, support existing and create new partnerships with key stakeholders, and implement comprehensive watershed-based solutions.”
Through Governor O’Malley’s BayStat Initiative, Maryland has identified high, medium and low priority watersheds based on current water quality conditions and modeled nitrogen loads to the Chesapeake Bay from each watershed. For fiscal years 2009 and 2010, priority consideration will be given to projects located in small (30,000 acres or less) watersheds of the lower Eastern Shore, Choptank River, upper Eastern Shore, lower western shore and Patuxent River. Identified high priority sub-watersheds include the Corsica River, Langford Creek, Little Patuxent River, lower Chester River, lower Choptank River, Magothy River, lower Patuxent River, Sassafras River, Severn River, South River, Southeast Creek, Stillpond Fairlee, and Wye River.
“It is promising to see such a strong focus on inter-jurisdictional cooperation and clear, measurable goals for these implementation grants,” said Jennifer Dindinger, Chair of the Choptank River Tributary Team. “Encouraging a watershed approach to water quality management is the key to cleaning up our streams and rivers and this program will go a long way toward achieving that goal.”
The State will accept proposals through August 29, 2008. Proposals will be reviewed by an independent scientific advisory panel comprised of scientists, educators, planners, environmental advocates and policy experts. Final grants will be announced in October 2008.
During the 2008 session of the Maryland General Assembly, Governor O’Malley secured $25 million for fiscal year 2009 implementation of the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund, all of which will be targeted to practices and areas which the best science available indicates will result in the greatest possible water quality improvements. Through Governor O’Malley’s BayStat Initiative, Trust Fund grants will be publicly reviewed, held accountable for measurable results, and adapted as need to maximize success. A similar RFP for fiscal year 2011 will be released in early 2009.
The full request for proposal and additional information including a map of identified priority watersheds is available online at http://www.baystat.maryland.gov/trustfund.
In addition to the Trust Fund and BayStat Initiatives, Governor O’Malley recently strengthened Maryland’s critical areas law to better protect from development the most environmentally sensitive and significant lands within Maryland’s Chesapeake and Coastal Bays watersheds.
June 5, 2008